Ballygarvan 4-7, Shamrocks 1-12.
An agonising defeat for Shamrocks in the Semi Final of the B Championship, in a game played in Shanbally on Bank Holiday afternoon last. The players and selectors will be wondering for a long time how they managed to lose this game of football which was played in excellent spirit throughout from both teams. Shamrocks could have won this game 3 times over but a combination of bad luck, terrible misses in front of the goal and 2 brilliant saves by the Ballygarvan keeper saw them through to the final.
This really was a cracking game of championship football which was above the B standard. Both teams are to be complimented on an open display of ball with many twists and turns, especially in the second half. This half, which had Ballygarvan playing down the hill with the strong breeze had everything and could have gone either way, right up until the dying minutes of the game.
Shamrocks, playing with the breeze in the first half were first to settle and scored some nice points through Cannice Caffrey (who scored 0-8 from play and frees and was everywhere on the pitch throughout) and James Raleigh up from wing back. Shamrocks built up a 0-4 to 0-0 lead after 15 minutes but one felt with the strength of the breeze that this wasnt enough. It certainly wasnt when Ballygarvan punished some slack ball handling by one of the Shamrocks forwards by putting together a full pitch length move to bury the ball in the back of the Shamrocks net.
Shamrocks went in leading by 0-7 to 1-1 at halftime and it could and should have been more – Joey Brady and Roy Twomey but hit the Ballygarvan woodwork with goal bound efforts coming up to halftime while Tony O’Mahony was chipping away at the defence, looking dangerous everytime he got the ball along with Twomey.
The second half was excellent fare and was real championship fare. Shamrocks faced a mammoth task to keep a very good Ballygarvan team at bay and it was made all the harder after Jonathon Tuohy had to leave the field just before halftime through injury. This opened up lots of space in the Ballygarvan full back line and with their full forward, Cork Minor player Dan McCarthy deliberately isolated inside, it was obvious what Ballygarvan were going to do – drive it into him and get him to take on his man. And that they did and it contributed hugely to Ballygarvan winning the game.
After conceding 1-2 in one minute just after halftime (the goal an own goal from one of the Shamrocks defenders), Shamrocks regrouped against again the wind and responded with some lovely scores from Joey Brady, Tony O’Mahony and Cannice Caffrey and a cracking goal by Roy Twomey to lead by 6 points. It really should have been over at this stage (for the first time) but Ballygarvan broke downfield again and their afore mentioned corner forward kicked another goal and a point before Shamrocks responded again through Alan McCarthy and Caffrey again and led by 3 with 7 minutes left. The game was really there for the taking again at this stage but the opportunity wasnt taken yet again.
Ballygarvan played direct ball into their full forward line and they garnered a penalty which was dispatched to the net to make the game level. Their tails were up at this stage and they sensed the win – and this they did with a four point final flourish to send the Shamrocks players to their knees at the final whistle. A fabulous effort went to nothing but they played some great football at times but the fact that they didnt put the game to bed earlier on will haunt them for a few days yet. However, it is hoped to see these players play on in the years ahead and form the nucleus of the Junior A (and B) teams over the next few years.
Teams – J. Wilson, J. Tuohy, C. Walter, J. Raleigh, C. Kidney, S. O’Brien, A. McCarthy, C. Caffrey, D. Kelleher, T. O’Mahony, J. O’Driscoll, R. Twomey, J. Brady, A. Hickey.
Ballygarvan – Gearoid Dunton; Fergal Ahern, Jack Naidoo; Matthew Thomas, Emmet Ahern, Jason O’ Callaghan; Jack O’ Halloran; Luke O’ Sullivan, Conor Weir, Philip Seymore; Dan McCarthy, Micheal O Se.
Subs: Killian Mannion for Jason O’ Callaghan, Danny Dineen for Philip Seymore.
Scorers: Dan McCarthy 1-5, Conor Weir 2-1 (1 pen), Micheal O Se 1-0, Jack O’ Halloran 0-1.
My thanks to Aine O’Callaghan, Ballygarvan PRO for the Ballygarvan team and scorers.